OCEANSIDE — The annual Ivey Ranch Park Western Hoedown fundraiser, held Sept. 12, opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new barn and stables. A generous $100,000 donation from the Rhynard family, plus a $50,000 grant and $12,000 in additional community donations, allowed the stables to be built.
Ivey Ranch Park helps more than 200 adults and children, both disabled and able-bodied, through a variety of equestrian programs each month. It also offers other educational and recreational activities.
“The new therapy barn doubles the amount of horses we’re able to have here and triples the people we’re able to serve,” Tonya Danielly, Ivey Ranch Park executive director, said.
Al Rhynard of Menifee, who made the generous donation, learned about the therapeutic horseback riding programs that help disabled children through a family member who has a child who attends Ivey Ranch Park. Rhynard visited Ivey Ranch and saw a boy get on a horse for the first time. “His smile when he got on made everything worthwhile,” Rhynard said.
Rhynard got more involved in supporting Ivey Ranch when he learn about the Horses for Heroes program that helps disabled veterans through therapeutic riding.
“We saw what a positive program can do to all of their lives,” Duane Rhynard of Yorba Linda said. “To help with programs helps a lot more kids and a lot more veterans.”
Ivey Ranch Park is supported through donations, grants and the work of volunteers.
“We have 150 volunteers,” Danielly said. “Our volunteers make everything work.”
Riley Insko of Oceanside, 14, has been a volunteer since 2006. “I volunteer every Saturday,” Riley said. Her favorite job is to lead or side walk a horse as she helps a disabled child who wants to ride. “Kids ask, ‘Will these horses help me walk?’” Riley said. “It’s the most amazing thing.”
Councilman Jack Feller has been involved in fundraising for Ivey Ranch Park for the past 11 years. He described the transformation he’s observed when a disabled child gets on a horse. “Literally they’re frozen, and then they relax,” Feller said. “It’s an absolutely great thing. I really care about this place.”